Cloaking is a black hat SEO technique in which a part from the contents of the pages is addressed to visitors and another part is addressed to search engines.
In cloaking, the visitor is shown the page in a normal mode, but the search engines are shown a page full of contents.
The contents which is not visible for the visitor, is normally full of SPAM, by key words, in order to reach a high position in SERPs on those words.
Normally, the cloaking is performed by displaying on the same page of the contents, visible to the visitor, and the contents visible only to the search engines. In order to detect the use of this technique on a page, use ctrl+a and you should see the contents of the text, which normally you couldn’t have seen.
Cloaking after user agent
For this cloaking technique, the web server must be able to specify if the visitor is a person or a search engine.
The result of this technique is: when a human visitor accesses the page, the page will be normally shown to him, and when the page is accessed by a search engine, this one will see a text full of key words, for which the webmaster wants to reach the SERPs top.
A method to identify search engines when that page is accessed is according to the domain of the search engine or according to IPs.
A way to detect if a page uses this cloaking method is to verify what Google has in cache for that page. If on that page cloaking was performed by this method, then watching in cache you should see exactly what Google bot has seen. Another method to detect the cloaking user agent is to modify in the browser which you use as a user agent, so that you should see exactly what would normally see a search engine bot.
User Agent Switcher is an extension for Firefox and Mozilla which allows you to change the user agent in those browsers.
Penalties for cloaking
Cloaking represents a breaking of the rules concerning the majority of the search engines and in the case of detection it is possible that the site should be banned.
The search engines are not yet very good at cloaking detection, but any person who is bothered by these techniques can attract the attention of the search engines, sending a simple mail.
Tag : SEO